Does surgical treatment of femoral neck fracture increase the risk of femoral head collapse?

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Introduction: Femoral head collapse is a possible complication after surgical treatment of femoral neck fractures. The purpose of this study was to examine whether implantation of a Sliding Hip Screw (SHS) or an X-Bolt could increase the risk of femoral head collapse. Similar to traditional hip screws, the X-Bolt is implanted through the femoral neck; however, it uses an expanding cross-shape to improve rotational stability. The risk of collapse was investigated alongside patient factors, such as osteonecrosis.
Materials & Methods: This numerical study assessed the risk of femoral head collapse using linear eigenvalue buckling (an established method [1]), and also from the maximum von Mises stress within the cortical bone. The femoral head was loaded using the pressures reported by Yoshida et al. for a patient sitting down (reported to put the femoral head at greatest risk of collapse [2]), with a peak pressure of 9.4 MPa and an average pressure of 1.59 MPa. The femur was fixed in all degrees of freedom at a plane through the femoral neck. The X-Bolt and SHS were implanted in accordance with the operative techniques. The femoral head and implants were meshed with quadratic tetrahedral elements, and cortical bone was meshed with triangular thin shell elements. A converged mesh seeding density of 1.2 mm was used. All models were create and solved using ABAQUS finite element software (version 6.12, Simulia, Dassault Systèmes, France). The influence of implant type and presence was examined alongside a variety of patient factors: osteonecrosis (modelled as a cone of bone of varying angle, and varying modulus values), cortical thinning, reduced cortical modulus, and femoral head size. Twenty-two finite element models were run for each implant condition (intact; implanted with the X-Bolt; implanted with a SHS), resulting in a total of 66 models. The finite element models were validated using experimental tests performed on five 4th generation composite Sawbones femurs (Malmö, Sweden), and verified against previously published results [1].
Results: No significant difference was found between the X-Bolt and the SHS, for either critical buckling pressure (p=0.964), or the maximum von Mises stress (p=0.274), indicating no difference in the risk of femoral head collapse. The maximum von Mises stress (and therefore the risk of collapse) within the cortical bone was significantly higher for the intact femoral head compared to both implants (X-Bolt: p=0.048, SHS: p=0.002). Of the factors examined, necrosis of the femoral head caused the greatest increase in risk.
Discussion: The study by Volokh et al. [1] concluded that deterioration of the cancellous bone underneath the cortical shell can greatly increase the risk of femoral head collapse, and the results of the present study support this finding. Interestingly the presence of either an X-Bolt or SHS implant appeared to reduce the risk of femoral head collapse.References: [1] Volokh, K. Y. et al. “Prediction of femoral head collapse in osteonecrosis.” (2006) J Biomech Eng 128, p467-470.[2] Yoshida, H. et al. “Three-dimensional hip contact area and pressure distribution during activities of daily living” (2005) J Biomech 39, p1996-2004. 
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2016
EventEuropean Orthopaedic Research Society Meeting - Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli, Bologna, Italy
Duration: 14 Sept 201616 Sept 2016
Conference number: 24


ConferenceEuropean Orthopaedic Research Society Meeting
Abbreviated titleEORS
Internet address


  • Femoral head collapse
  • Fracture
  • Necrosis
  • Hip
  • medical devices
  • Finite element


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